Alternatively titled... Why personal action is the only way to fight populist nationalism
Like many conservatives who couldn't cast a ballot for Trump, I hoped against all hope that he might turn out to be okay. It wasn't grounded in anything; just a hope. I lost hope when Trump appointed Stephen Bannon as chief strategist. The recent reorganization of the National Security Council is at the moment my highest concern.
The executive order that all banned immigration from 7 countries disgusted me. Not because I oppose all measures to enforce immigration law. Rather, I abhor the expansion of presidential power. I particularly oppose it when the end in mind is protectionism with what I think are ethnically motivated undertones.
Like most of you, I don't know what to do. We take to Facebook saying, "Refugees are welcome" but it's not enough.
Talk, especially of the social media variety, is cheap. You're much more likely to effect change at the personal level. These are five ways that I recommend living out your political and religious ideals. They come at a cost to you, but I bet you will find the cost is worth it.
Americans on average give $1,872 per household per year. I heartily recommend trying to increase your family's giving. And I would love to see that giving directed to organizations that help refugees.
Huffington Post highlighted 6 Organizations that help refugees. These organizations are either secular or Muslim Faith Based. If you prefer to give through a Christian Ministry, World Vision has the setup required to deliver effective aid to those in need in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.
Not sure how to increase your giving budget? These are a few of my favorite pieces on the matter:
Responding to Greed, The Case for Giving Consistently and Generously, Giving: Stepping out of the First World Mindset
Get to know an immigrant
In the short run, refugees need aid and relief. Money helps with that.
Money alone cannot lead to development and integration. Development isn't done "To" or "For" a person. It's something that happens with a person.
If you live in a neighborhood with tons of immigrants, it's pretty easy to get to know an immigrant family. Invite them to dinner- cook something vegetarian. Play sports at the nearby park. Ask them about themselves.
You can pass on job recommendations, help a family find literacy training, and where to buy Halal meats.
I'm not asking you to save the world. Just to try to get to know someone who isn't like you.
If you want to help immigrants, try volunteering your time through a local organization. Usually, volunteers help with literacy training, driving recent immigrants to appointments, and helping them fill out documentation to get kids enrolled in school.
Become a landlord
It's really hard for new immigrants to obtain housing. They probably don't have much income, and they won't have any credit.
As a landlord, you can take a risk and welcome a refugee family into a rental property. I know of one organization in Raleigh that works with refugees, immigrants and landlords to establish a smooth transition. Check in your local area to see if you have a similar group.
One thing I hate about social media is that it makes it easy to have a short memory. We get the feels, we voice our opinion, and then we don't change.
I love the first amendment rights. I don't want to stop you from voicing your opinion... even if I disagree with you. But talk isn't enough. If we want America to change, we must act.
I urge each one of you to think of one thing that you wish someone else would do. Now you can go do it.
I'm a wife, a mom, an employee, and a personal finance nerd who is devoted to spreadsheeting my way through life.